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Thank you, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. I appreciate your leadership and the time you have given me to talk about this really important resolution, the resolution of retreat from combat.
You know, we in this House, in this warm House tonight at 5 minutes after the hour of 10 o'clock, we view this resolution from our own personal opinions. But maybe we should view something, and this resolution in particular, from a historical standpoint, for history has no opinion but is a teacher of hard facts of retrospect.
You know, this debate is not new to Congress. Years ago, after 5 long years of war, this Nation found itself at war with the greatest empire on Earth, Great Britain. The war of independence was not going well in 1781 and 1782. It looked bleak. The Commander in Chief, George Washington, had lost most of the battles he was engaged in. Public opinion was at an all-time low during the war. There were even mutinies in the Army from the Pennsylvania volunteers and the New Jersey volunteers. There was talk in the press of even reuniting with Great Britain - of all things, forming a truce and going back to be with the British. There were preachers of gloom, doom, despair and defeatism. There were generals on the battlefield that didn't like the way George Washington was handling himself as Commander in Chief and they were preaching to the public and their troops, We can't beat the British.
The debate was not new to this House, Mr. Speaker. Congress wanted to cut funding. The Continental Congress wanted to cut funding for the American Army and they not only wanted to do so, they did slash funds. Congress even in this time of bleak war reduced the size of the Continental Army. For the first and only time during the long war, George Washington left the field of battle and came to Congress and made the case for winning the war and not giving up, not surrendering, not reuniting with Great Britain.
And he made the comments. He said, ``We should never despair. Our situation before has been very unpromising. But it has changed for the better. So it will be again.''
It's a good thing the Commander in Chief did not listen to the gloom, doom and despair of the Continental Congress in 1781. Then, as now, victory was the only option. Victory is simple. You defeat the enemy wherever they are.
So George Washington and a handful of barefoot soldiers at Yorktown defeated who the skeptics and cynics said could never be defeated--the British. The consequences of loss in 1782 would have been somewhat staggering.
Mr. Speaker, the flag that flies behind you now would have been the Union Jack instead of the Stars and Stripes, and this country, this people, this free people, would have been much different had we not won the war and stayed the course.
The consequences of abandoning our troops in the field by not giving them more troops would be joy to the terrorists that hate us and want to kill us. I am sure the terrorists throughout the world would vote ``yes'' for this resolution of retreat and surrender, and those of us who want to defeat the terrorists should vote ``no.'' Our troops on the battlefield need to know help is coming. Like most Members of Congress in this House, they know people and they know people in their congressional districts that have died for this country in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Speaker, I carry with me the names of the fallen in my congressional district. The first one that fell was Sergeant Russell Slay, 1 day after I was elected in 2004. There are 17 names on these sheets of paper, all of them volunteers from southeast Texas, who went to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight terrorists, as they say in southeast Texas. Their names, Mr. Speaker, are more than names. They are real people.
Sergeant Slay died November 9, 2004, from Humble, Texas.
Lance Corporal Wesley Canning, November 10, 2004. He was from Friendswood, Texas.
Lance Corporal Fred Maciel, January 26, 2005, from Spring, Texas.
Private First Class Wesley Riggs, May of 2005 from Beach City, Texas.
Lance Corporal Robert Martinez, Splendora, Texas. He died December 1, 2005, at the age of 21.
Staff Sergeant Michael Durbin, January 25, 2006, from Spring, Texas.
Walter Moss, Jr. He was a tech sergeant from Houston, Texas. March 30, 2006.
Private First Class Kristian Menchaca, June 16, 2006, at the age of 23, from Houston, Texas.
Staff Sergeant Benjamin Williams, June 20, 2006, from Orange, Texas. He was 30.
Staff Sergeant Alberto Sanchez, Jr., at the age of 33, he was killed in Iraq on June 24, 2006, and from Houston.
Lance Corporal Ryan Miller, September 14, 2006, from Pearland, Texas. He was 20.
Staff Sergeant Edward Reynolds at the age of 28 was killed September 26, 2006, from Houston, Texas.
Captain David Fraser, killed in Iraq on November 26, 2006, at the age of 25, and he was from Houston.
Lance Corporal Luke Yepsen, December 14, 2006, at the age of 20, from Kingwood, Texas.
Specialist Dustin Donica, December 28, 2006, from Spring, Texas, at the age of 22.
Specialist Ryan Berg, January 9, 2007, at the age of 18 from Sabine Pass, Texas. Ryan Berg enlisted on his 18th birthday to join the United States Army.
And Staff Sergeant Terrence Dunn just a few days ago, February 7, 2007, from Houston, Texas.
Seventeen names from one congressional district, Mr. Speaker. There are names of over 3,000. And it seems to me that we owe it to these individuals, these American patriots, to send them the help that they need so that their lives meant more than just dying while the rest of the country decided to run away. We should finish what we have started. We should win this battle. We should fight the terrorists. We should look them in the eye and tell them, We're not going away until our job is done.
This resolution does not promote American unity to finish the job. This resolution does not hold in honor the names on this list, these real people, killed for this country and all volunteers. And they, like the ones that died in the Continental Army 200 years ago, died for a reason. The families that I have talked to believe in what their sons and daughters died for, and that was for fighting these evil people. We call them terrorists, these extremists, that hate us and will kill us if they have the chance.
So, I think history has taught us a lesson, that this Congress 200 years ago was faced with a choice and decided to take the funds away from George Washington. Fortunately, he was able to reunite the country and win that independence. And I hope that we reunite this country and finish the job and win this battle that we are fighting in a land far, far away for the same reason, and that we are fighting people that are terrorists and hate us and people that are extreme in their beliefs in their hatred for America.
Because like I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, the flag that flies behind you is important. It is important that it is not the Union Jack or some other flag, and we owe it all to the military, the volunteers, the young men and women that have served recently and have served in our past for this country.